Tuesday, April 17, 2012

General Economics

Market Watch | March industrial production flat for second month
Industrial production was unchanged in March for a second month, in what could be a sign of slowing momentum in the U.S. economy.
National Journal | Obama Push on Oil Markets Seen as More Political Than Practical
Under continued attack from Republicans for high oil and gasoline prices, President Obama unveiled on Tuesday a slate of measures to crack down on financial speculation in energy-futures trading, which Democrats say helps drive up prices.
WSJ | Argentina to Seize Control of Oil Firm
President Cristina Kirchner, in a move that marks a watershed in expanding the state's grip on the economy, said she will send a bill to Congress to nationalize Argentina's largest oil-and-gas company
Bloomberg | IMF Raises Global Forecast for First Time Since Early 2011
The International Monetary Fund raised its global growth forecast for the first time in more than a year, with the U.S. boosting the outlook while recent improvements remain “very fragile.”
Bloomberg | U.S. Housing Starts Unexpectedly Drop to Five-Month Low
Builders began work on fewer homes than forecast in March, signaling a sustained industry recovery will take time to get underway.
Bloomberg | German ZEW Investor Confidence Unexpectedly Improves
German investor confidence unexpectedly rose to a two-year high in April, suggesting Europe’s largest economy can weather the resurgent debt crisis in the euro region’s periphery.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Washington Times | Sticky regulatory throttle
The Obama administration is so committed to redesigning the automobile that it’s taking over the way the gas and brake pedals are made to protect Americans from a nonexistent threat.
Bloomberg | How Shape-Shifting Banks Foil Dodd-Frank Act
Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) recently separated its U.S. investment bank from its bank holding company, removing it from supervision by the Federal Reserve.
WSJ | Banks Don't Need to Gamble With Taxpayer Money
The Volcker Rule—part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law—is necessary to correct a mistake that poses a danger to our economy.
NBER | Equity-Holding Institutional Lenders: Do they Receive Better Terms?
The past decade has seen significant changes in the structure of the corporate lending market, with non-commercial bank institutional investors playing larger roles than they historically have played.

The American | Dodd-Frank threatens to reduce credit availability by $1.2 trillion
The Financial Times today carries a story that U.S. banks have been resisting a new Fed regulation—issued under the Dodd-Frank Act—that would limit their credit exposure to one another.
John B Taylor | New Model Validation of Stimulus Impacts
A paper just published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics sheds additional light on the Keynesian multiplier debate, which has surged since the 2009 stimulus package—ARRA—was enacted.

Health Care

National Journal | Prescription Drug Growth Slows
Americans' spending on prescription drugs rose by only 2.7 percent last year, a record low, according to a study of drug use published by the pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.
National Journal | Medical Malpractice Goes for Round Two in the House
The House Judiciary Committee intends to make it just a little more difficult for the Senate to say no to capping medical malpractice lawsuits Tuesday.

Heritage Foundation | Premium Support Proposals: Key Elements and a Comparison
The current Medicare program has made $38 trillion of unfunded promises to seniors over the next 75 years, and the Part A trust fund is predicted to be bankrupt as soon as 2024. The gravity of Medicare’s fiscal mess makes reform inevitable.


Bloomberg | Fed Priority of Rates Integrity Prompts Outlook Struggle
Federal Reserve officials are grappling with how they might eventually exit from their plan to keep interest rates low through late 2014 without jolting markets.


National Journal | No Specifics on Where to Close Loopholes - National Journal Tax Event
Like nearly everyone in Congress who professes a desire for tax reform through closing “loopholes,” Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, on Tuesday refused to specify which tax expenditures he would like to eliminate, arguing that naming breaks now would only politicize the issue and create “fodder for the other side” during a contentious election year.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
CATO | Buffett Rule's Deceitful Consequences
President Obama released his tax return last week, showing he had an effective rate of a little more than 20 percent of his income, even though he is rich by his own definition. One of major ways the Obamas were able to reduce their tax rate was by giving away 22 percent of their income to charity, which I applaud. But their actions raise several interesting points.
WSJ | Trickle-Down Taxation
In the 2012 election year, President Obama again promises to only target individuals earning more than $250,000—but his public statements on raising taxes focus on those earning more than $1 million a year. In theory this could be a compelling argument.
Daily Caller | The tax-code mess
In recent weeks President Obama has been on a quixotic search-and-destroy mission for the few remaining millionaires who aren’t already paying a huge pile of taxes. Meanwhile, the rest of us face the real-world struggles of filing our IRS returns and dealing with the hugely complex tax system that the president has done nothing to fix.
Washington Times | Making Tax Day worse
Mr. Obama has invoked Warren Buffett’s name at 49 different events since mid-August to justify his tax-raising plans. Despite the all-out White House lobbying effort, the president’s allies in the Democratic Senate failed on Monday to get the votes needed to pass the 30 percent tax hike on income over $1 million.
CATO | Why High Taxes Will Never Soak Rich
Whether it’s through the Buffett Rule, higher income-tax rates or double taxation of dividends and capital gains, President Obama often demands that “rich” taxpayers and big corporations send more money to Washington.

Heritage Foundation | Morning Bell: What Tax Day Could Feel Like in 2013
In addition to today being Tax Day, it’s also, coincidentally, “Tax Freedom Day” — meaning that it has taken from January 1 until now for Americans to earn enough money to pay this year’s federal, state, and local tax bill — 29.2% of all our income. In other words, for the first 111 days of the year, everything you earned went straight to Uncle Sam.
Tax Foundation | The Missing Facts in the Buffett Tax Debate
In 2009, the most recent year for which such detail is available, millionaires earned 10 percent of all income, but paid 20 percent of all income taxes. Although there were only about 237,000 millionaires in 2009, they paid a greater share of the income tax burden than everyone earning under $75,000 combined - a total of 109 million taxpayers.
The American | Here’s how big the potential 2013 tax hikes would be
If you combine all the other tax increases from 1980-1993, they add up to 3.3% of GDP, according to the brilliant budget team at Strategas Research.
Tax Foundation | New Tax Calculator Shows Taxpayers their Tax Bill under Many Scenarios
Today the Tax Foundation releases its latest interactive tool, an update and overhaul of its successful MyTaxBurden tax calculator. I've rewritten the calculator from the ground up and added a variety of new options and features.


Bloomberg | Retailers Adding Workers Makes U.S. March Decline a Blip
Applicants weren’t deterred by the heavy rain that fell in San Francisco when local Jamba Inc. (JMBA) outlets opened their doors for the smoothie chain’s first nationwide summer job fair on March 27.
CNN Money | First Solar to cut 2,000 jobs
First Solar, a maker of photovoltaic panels and other sources of alternative power, announced on Tuesday that it will cut 2,000 jobs in the U.S. and Europe.


Roll Call | War Over Spending Just Beginning in House
The battle over the House budget resolution might be behind the chamber, but the war over its specifics is just beginning.

Heritage Foundation | Subsidiarity: An Important Principle in Federal Budget Debates
Political Correspondent David Brody recently asked that question of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R–WI) concerning the Republican budget plan. In a taped interview for the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Ryan, a Roman Catholic, identified care for the poor as a fundamental tenet in the social teachings of his Church.